Hi all, I know that this subject is on here somewhere, but I haven't had time to sit and search for my answer, I need a quick answer so I can either start new seedlings and yank these baby's out of the garden, or do some amendments and get them back on track. I bought a soil tester today, not the digital or probe type, but the one with the capsules that you open and than add water to, and my soil for the ph was around 7, I'm waiting for the new test kit I ordered that show the potash, and 3 other things I can't remember at this time. The cucumbers and squash, planted at the same time are starting to look sick. I started these as seed's in my green house, and just put them into the ground last week.
The outer rims of the cucumber leaves are turning almost a silvery color, the feel of the leaves is like paper mache, and turning crunchy. I'm bad at descriptions, but this is the best I can explain. Some of the leaves have bit the dust after going through this process. It can't be powdery mildew at this young stage, can it?It doesn't wipe off the leaf when I rub it, and the silvery color seems to be running along the veins of the leaves. And than the squash, it's starting to get little yellow dots on the leaves, and looks like something was chewing on it. I have 3 squash plants next to it, and they all look healthy and green.
As for the soil, We tilled the original soil, pulled out the clumps of grass, and what ever else needed to be discarded and than made a 14" trench. Than, for the base in the trench, I added some dried, mulched up leaves, cow manure compost, peat ( not a lot), and garden soil bought from Lowe's. I also added back in to mixture some of the original soil which was a bit sandy. This was all tilled together, and a hill made to plant my cucumbers and squash. I have 3 raised beds which have the same mixture in them, and everything is doing great, the ph in the raised beds is around 6.8-7. I can't get an accurate reading using the test kit I have, and the new one is on the way by mail, and I should have it in 3-4 days. I can't wait, this is driving me nutty. We've tilled every spot I've planted in to a depth of at least 24", and a lot of the original soil removed to be replaced by a hearty mixture. I have my own compost to, which I've started to use in around the plants as a top dressing, but haven't added any to this garden patch, as of yet. The soil smells good, as for taste, NO, I did read where some people taste there soil, but not for this girl. So...maybe it's the soil maybe not.
The next problem could be these seeds were left over from last year, (I did buy new seeds, which I have started now, but to get a jump start on my garden before I purchased the new seed ) I kept them in a storage container in my freezer, with all my left over seeds. I had read somewhere you could keep seeds this way, but don't remember where I read it, and really never gave it a second thought. Could this be the problem.
And lastly, I moved them from the green house straight into the garden, and didn't give them a chance to get acclimated to the new surroundings. The temperature between the green house and the garden seem to be the same at this time of year, other than the over night temps, which have been going down to the 40s. They haven't been touch by the frost we had, they came out afterwards. The temp in the green house get's down to around 50 degrees during the night. I have sun in my yard all day long, with very little shade. During the day, I have a fan running in the green house to keep the temperature down, other wise the temps would be well over 100 degrees, running the fan keeps it at around 80 degrees.
I hope the information I gave you will help you, help me with an explanation or answer to my problem.I do have the new seeds getting ready, but they're no where close into going out to the garden. Probably another 2 weeks but I also don't want to contaminate the garden soil if these plants have a disease and need to be pulled.
Take a look at the picture's, and any advise you can give is good advise, and very much appreciated. Thanks for looking!
BTW, I was just looking at my picture's, and it just dawned on me, something about the squash, I just started watering my plants with a sprinkler system, maybe these dots are from the water coming over head, instead of underneath. I was watering by hand, never letting the water touch the leaves, but the last 2 days I've been busy, so my husband hooked up a sprinkler. Maybe I burned the leaves, but here again the 3 other squash plants have no signs of this. soooooo Hm, scratching my head, brows drawn :(
I forgot to write what the picture's are. The first picture shows you what the plants looked like before they started to turn on me. The first picture shows the 4 squash plants, and the 3 cucumber plants. The second picture is of my raised beds, and how the garden is laid out. I have planted into the ground along the perimeter of the fence. This was all tilled, new soil brought in, old taken out except for what we added back into the beds, and around the fence. Jami
What a great setup. Good job.
I think your cucumber plants got too cold. Cucumbers don't really like to go below 50F.
Some of my cucumber plants did have those crispy/brown leaves from the colder days we are having lately. The yellow spots are from the winds or water drops.
I always harden the plants off at least for one week. So this could have been your biggest problem. Patience next time.
Don't you know the four "P" of a gardener:
P for planting
P for patience
P for pruning
P for PRIDE
If the plants will keep growing and make nice green leaves I'd no worry, but if this problem persist it might be something different.
What kind of mulch is that? If it's not something native, it could have something used to treat it that's not good for the plants. I would pull it back and use straw or leaves instead, if it's not something native. Also, I think that you're onto something with the watering. If you water from above, you have to do it early or late so the sun doesn't burn the leaves. Also, don't over water. Do you have a soil moisture meter to use?
They look sunburned and possibly windburned to me, although the cold weather didn't help! I'm in agreement with drthor -- you *must* harden off.
I suspect they'll bounce back fine, though. The new leaves look good. If you see any new damage on the leaves, covering them up with a floating row cover for a while may give them a smidge of protection until they acclimate and the weather stays consistently warm.
Regarding soil testing, home test kits and meter tend to be pretty sad. Your local Extension office probably offers low cost (or free; depends on the county) soil testing. While their recommendations will be geared toward agriculture, the results should be spot on. In addition to the typical N-P-K & pH testing, they can usually help you out with something more specialized -- last year, for example, Auburn University identified a disease in my orchard that isn't in the typical books. Your Extension office can be a GREAT resource.
If you want to test for trace minerals, heavy metals and such, there are labs you mail away to. I have used and can recommend Wallace Labs (http://us.wlabs.com/); there are others out there. This kind of testing is not cheap, but if you have concerns about soil contamination it's the only way to know for sure.
The look of the leaf is the health of the root... older leaves will yellow, die and fall off... dry edges are usually root damage or dryness- when you transplanted, did you keep a good rootball around the root? I think it is simply in shock, but tamp the earth around the plants-this will remove any air pockets that might have happened. check for bugs, cukes DON'T like to be handled either...slugs, pill bugs, pickle worms...
What to me would be suspect is the manure .In my garden class I managed to get the Latimer County agri. extension agent as aguest speaker last class and he said that with manure unless you can be certain what the animal that it came from was never fed hay from a field that was treated with broad leafed weed killer..It seemed that the weed killer will pass thru the animal into the manure and can last many years in your soil and only kill certain plants ..This man was a wonderful speaker and has the experience of being the county ag agent for over 20 years OSU has a plant pathology lab and if you take your dead or dying plant to him he will send it to the lab for testing PS for 10 dollars you can send your soil in for testing with the returned results will be the required amounts of the different nutrients needede
To each and everyone of you who responded so far, I give you all a big hug. There is quite a bit of information gathered here, I feel a little better, as for the mulch, When we went into the lower temperatures, I put covers on all the beds, the rows outside the bed had insulated old curtains I had on them, and anything in pots got moved into the green house, thank goodness I have 2 little red wagons, as it seemed for 3 or 4 weeks it was in and out in and out, I got a great workout moving the plants in pots, I did loose a few bush bean plants, and a few tomato plants got a few leaves damaged from the frost, They were covered also, but are coming back strong. When I uncovered everything that was the only damage I thought I had, but maybe the damage is just now showing up!
As for the mulch, it is a red mulch from oldcastle lawn and garden, out of Atlanta, Ga. and sold by Lowe's. I always use the red mulch, and I really like Lowe's better than HD, only if things are on sale and cheaper will I go there. I check prices on line before shopping for what I need. The bag also says it is a " Certified Product" of the mulch and soil counsel! We've had very little rain here in my area of Florida, very dry conditions, and under a fire watch, so I've been watering once a day, in the morning. If I check my soil around 3pm, and it feels dry to the touch,( I don't have a gauge for water, but may get one, now that it was mentioned, I need all the help I can get) I will water again, so it's not to damp by the time night comes. I'm going to quit watering overhead, It saved some time, but until I can get soaker hoses going through the beds, I will return to hand watering, lol, I have a 100 ft hose, and I can get every part of my yard, including the front of my home.
as far as a soil tester kit, I ordered one from amazon, the kit had a 4 1/2 star rating with something like 75 comments left by others who purchased the kit. The kit is from green leaf and has 4 different test, they are nitrogen, phosphorus, potash, and the ph, which is what I just bought. I bought this test kit from Ace, which is close by, I didn't want to drive the whole way to Lowe's for just that, waiting for my disability check to come, and than make my trip there to get everything I want in 1 visit. All Ace had was the test kit for PH, and an expensive one from the same maker. I already bought the Burpee Soil Tester analyzer,( $22 and change), I opened it up, read the instructions, very simple, and than started testing my soil, after a certain point I couldn't figure out why crappy soil, good soil, and even cow manure were coming back with the same readings, so I went on line to read what others were saying about this test kit, and was surprised to read the same thing I was thinking, this tester is a piece of crap. I'm taking it back, in the box, with the receipt, and I want my money back. Lowe's can pay me, they can get refunded by Burpee, as they seem to stock nothing but Burpees products on the shelves. When I got back from Ace after buying their kit, I went on line right away to see what people were saying about the new kit, ,a lot of good comments, and a few not so good, so I started checking out other kits that were out there that our stores don't carry, and this is what I'm waiting for to come in the mail. I'll let you all know the results and what test kit it is as soon as I receive it! The PH soil tester I bought is giving me different readings, and so far my soil is running between 6.5 and 7. But it leaves me open to what else is in the soil. I can't wait to get it.
Anyway, I'm leaving everything alone for now, my test kit will be here sometime this coming week, in the meantime, I'm going to contact my local extension office, and give them some samples of my soil. I've been doing container gardens, and this is my first year with raised beds, and in the ground planting. My container garden did quite well. We were living in a town home while waiting to find a new home, and I had the itch, so decided to go ahead and do a garden. We didn't know when we'd find a house, so I figured if we did find something, we could take the garden with us. That problem never arose, and we had some good veggies to eat. I had a few problems because of the closeness of the plants, some squash did get mildew from not enough air movement, the cucumbers did great till they got really tall on the trellis, and than started to die, all the leaves turning yellow and than falling off. Plus, because of the garden being a container garden, I over watered some stuff and got blossom rot, so I know what some things are, but this is a new way of gardening for me, and I want everything to do the best I can make it do. My fingers are crossed, and my toes! I'll be keeping up with this thread, and let everyone know how I'm doing, and looking forward to lot's of feed back.
Thanks all and Happy Gardening, Jami
PS: looks like some rain coming my way, yehaa!! The sky is getting dark and the winds have picked up! Let it rain!!!!!!! Here's a few picture's of my container garden! Once everything was mature and full size, you couldn't see me in the garden, it looked like a jungle, I'd be on the ground, picking weeds from the containers, or picking something, and know one even knew I was in there, lol, people walking by making comments about how nice it looked, even if they saw me out there, it was a conversation starter, I got to know my neighbors quite well, and they all profited from my garden. The size of my yard was probably 30'x13', I had 3 rows of containers in the yard, and along my lanai, and along the privacy fence I had 1 row each for a total 5 rows of plants, one neighbor made a comment that it looked like I had all my little soldiers lined up, cute!
You container garden looks lovely. I get a little envious of the photos I see of my sister-in-law's garden in Jacksonville; the season is so long. Big tall raised beds like yours will be very similar to container gardening, just with much bigger containers, so hopefully you'll need to water less, soil temperature swings will be much less, and deep rooted plants will have more room to spread out underground.
Oh, and congrats on the permanent(ish) home for your garden!
Can you direct sow your cucumber seeds? By doing that you don't have to worry about hardening them off. I find that I don't get much if a head start transplanting them bc it takes them awhile to adjust. Your garden looks great.